\ ˈtȯnt How to pronounce taunt (audio) , ˈtänt\
taunted; taunting; taunts

Definition of taunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to reproach or challenge in a mocking or insulting manner : jeer at



Definition of taunt (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sarcastic challenge or insult

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Other Words from taunt


taunter noun
tauntingly \ ˈtȯn-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce tauntingly (audio) , ˈtän-​ \ adverb

Synonyms for taunt

Synonyms: Verb

bait, hassle, haze, heckle, needle, ride, tease

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Choose the Right Synonym for taunt


ridicule, deride, mock, taunt mean to make an object of laughter of. ridicule implies a deliberate often malicious belittling. consistently ridiculed everything she said deride suggests contemptuous and often bitter ridicule. derided their efforts to start their own business mock implies scorn often ironically expressed as by mimicry or sham deference. youngsters began to mock the helpless wino taunt suggests jeeringly provoking insult or challenge. hometown fans taunted the visiting team

Taunt vs. Taut


Taunt and taut may easily be confused. The words are similar in spelling and pronunciation, though the resemblance does not extent to their syntax or meanings. Taut is an adjective that is most often used to refer to something that is pulled tight, like "a taut rope," or is bulging or filled to capacity, like "taut muscles." Taunt is a noun and a verb that refers to teasing or making fun of a person. That the two words sound similar creates confusion, and taunt, being the more common word, is sometimes substituted for taut. You can remember the difference between the two by remembering that tight and taut both lack the n of taunt.

Examples of taunt in a Sentence


The boys continually taunted each other.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The students were seen on video taunting two agents who had been asked to give a presentation to a criminal justice club on campus. NBC News, "Two arrested in racist attack on black student at University of Arizona," 14 Sep. 2019 Last week against the Panthers, Peters drew a taunting penalty. Los Angeles Times, "Rams’ Eric Weddle clears concussion protocol and is expected to play against Saints," 13 Sep. 2019 Yes, the same Librarian that Chris Jericho taunted during his viral post-All Out championship celebration, warning him not to shush the new World Champion. Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "The Week in Wrestling: Bret Hart Remembers Crowning Moment at ‘King of the Ring’," 11 Sep. 2019 Having everyone in the same room allows people to shout encouragement at teammates and taunt opponents. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Ars goes back to school: The video games that threatened our college GPA," 8 Sep. 2019 Police shared dashcam footage of Gomez, AKA Baby Jesus, doing wheelies and standing on his motorcycle while weaving in and out of traffic on Aug. 10, taunting police who were trying to stop him. Fox News, "Texas man known as 'Baby Jesus' accused of taunting cops with motorcycle stunts arrested," 6 Sep. 2019 But instead of commenting on the catch, Beckham had something to say about Gibson’s taunting afterward. Scott Patsko, cleveland.com, "Odell Beckham Jr. noticed Shelton Gibson’s one-handed catch in 2016 (for the wrong reason)," 4 Sep. 2019 Members of Antifa were outside the Metropolitan Republican Club protesting when Hare and Kinsman taunted and threatened them, the release said. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Proud Boys guilty in fight with Antifa members outside Republican club," 20 Aug. 2019 Over the past six hours, he had been beaten and burned, trampled and taunted. Sean Williams, Harper's magazine, "The Black Axe," 19 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Our reporters regularly face taunts and threats inside police stations. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A year on, #MeToo has lost momentum in India but we must keep the conversation going," 4 Sep. 2019 Police mostly succeeded in separating opposing protesters, but after taunts and chants, the showdown between right-wing activists and those protesting their presence devolved into a roving game of cat-and-mouse. oregonlive.com, "‘John Doe,’ 2 teens, 10 others arrested in Portland protests," 18 Aug. 2019 This went on for 15 minutes or more — the woman’s voice getting louder and louder, her taunts even more insulting — but the man sat there without showing any reaction and the bus driver completely ignored what was going on. Stuart Emmrich, Los Angeles Times, "Riding the buses of Los Angeles: A beginner’s guide," 8 Aug. 2019 Johnson then followed with a taunt and little dance, prompting several players to jaw at each other. chicagotribune.com, "Texans star J.J. Watt accidentally breaks a 5-year-old’s bike while fulfilling his dream during a Packers tradition," 5 Aug. 2019 The Real Housewives of New York City (Bravo at 9) It’s time for Ramona to be in the hot seat, as the ladies question some of her more aggressive taunts over the past season. Washington Post, "TV tonight: ‘Forecast: Shark Attack’ premieres as the latest Shark Week offering and more," 18 July 2019 Last week, Manchester United's Paul Pogba responded to some of the racist taunts and chants he's heard on the pitch and online directed at himself and his teammates. Khadrice Rollins, SI.com, "Lukaku Racially Abused By Cagliari Fans, Scores Winner on PK," 1 Sep. 2019 The taunt’s target— Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — responded defiantly Thursday. Darlene Superville, Twin Cities, "Trump disavows ‘send her back’ cry, while Ilhan Omar stands defiant," 18 July 2019 San Clemente football coach Jaime Ortiz said there were no incidents or taunts involving the teams. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, "San Clemente High investigates allegations of racism at football game," 16 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'taunt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of taunt


1539, in the meaning defined above


circa 1527, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taunt


perhaps from Middle French tenter to try, tempt — more at tempt

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Learn More about taunt

Dictionary Entries near taunt






Taunton turkey


Statistics for taunt

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for taunt

The first known use of taunt was circa 1527

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More Definitions for taunt



English Language Learners Definition of taunt

: to say insulting things to (someone) in order to make that person angry


\ ˈtȯnt How to pronounce taunt (audio) \

Kids Definition of taunt

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a mean insulting remark


taunted; taunting

Kids Definition of taunt (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make fun of or say insulting things to

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More from Merriam-Webster on taunt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with taunt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for taunt

Spanish Central: Translation of taunt

Nglish: Translation of taunt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of taunt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on taunt

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to be made up of

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